Gibbons Pro Bono Efforts Highlighted in NJBIZ
November 12, 2015
The Gibbons Pro Bono Program is the subject of a prominent feature in this week’s issue of NJBIZ, the preeminent weekly publication covering business in New Jersey.
The article, “Gibbons gets ‘life-altering’ judgments in its free legal clinics,” written by NJBIZ reporter Daria Meoli and published in the November 9, 2015 edition, focuses on a few of the numerous pro bono legal clinics sponsored by Gibbons. In particular, the article highlights the firm’s partnership with Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) for a series of expungement clinics hosted at the firm, through which Gibbons and VLJ attorneys help clients with prior nonviolent criminal convictions to have those charges expunged from their records, better positioning them for future employment, housing, and other opportunities. The article also discusses the firm’s domestic violence clinics, designed and presented in conjunction with Partners for Women in Justice to assist victims of domestic violence with the many legal issues they face after successfully obtaining restraining orders, including child custody and visitation.
Mary Frances Palisano, Pro Bono Coordinator for Gibbons and Counsel in the firm’s Criminal Defense Department, was interviewed extensively for the article. Ms. Palisano was recently chosen by the New Jersey State Bar Association for one of its annual Pro Bono Awards, in recognition of her leadership role in the award-winning, nationally recognized Gibbons Pro Bono Program, which she has significantly expanded in terms of scope, external partnerships, and regional impact. She seeks out meaningful pro bono work for Gibbons attorneys; fields requests from outside organizations, firm attorneys, and clients with particular pro bono interests; actively manages nearly 200 pro bono cases; coordinates clinics; and mentors and oversees the pro bono work of associates. In her first year leading the Gibbons pro bono program, it set a record, exceeding the prior year’s pro bono hours by 3,000. Moreover, more than 70 percent of the firm’s attorneys took part in pro bono work, with 50 percent dedicating more than 20 hours to pro bono matters in 2013 and 2014 – also a firm record.